Shy Di 1980s Style Ensemble 18" Doll Clothes Pattern

4 reviews   |  

In Britain, back in February 1981, a 19 year old girl became engaged to a Queen's first born son. Almost overnight, that young girl became a world wide "megastar" who appeared daily in every newspaper and on every TV news bulletin. She was photographed at nearly every moment of her life and her clothing was analyzed in great detail. Her love of ruffles, frills, lace etc caused designers and clothing stores to try and replicate Shy Di's romantic sense of fashion. Five months later that young girl married her prince and became a real life princess. 

This pattern by Genniewren Designs is a nod to Shy Di's outfits from the early 1980s. The pattern contains a tuck-fronted poet shirt with a bound neckline that can be made with or without the ruffled collar. The collar can be made from the shirt fabric, from eyelet trim or from lace. The shirt has a rounded dropped shoulder line, common to men's shirts from the 18th century to the end of the 19th century, and full sleeves finishing in an elasticized ruffled edge. The shirt's blouson style is created by an elasticized waistline, which is optional. The shirt fastens at the center back.
The simple A-line midi-length skirt features a box pleat at the center front, and pockets hidden in the side seams. The back of the skirt waistband is elasticized for easy fit.
A vest (known as a waistcoat in Britain) completes the ensemble. The lined vest can be made reversible for more versatility, or it can be made from pre-quilted fabric.
When worn together, this ensemble embodies the fashions popular in early 1980s Britain, but each of the items in this pattern is versatile and can be worn with other clothing to give a more modern look. The skirt is a wardrobe staple and will be useful for all sorts of projects; the shirt looks great when worn with jeans, and the vest is another quick and easy to sew item that has all sorts of uses. This pattern will definitely become a favorite for your doll, whether she is channeling her inner 1980s New Romantic, or just enjoying some easy to wear fashion items. What's not to like?

This PDF sewing pattern is designed to fit 18" dolls such as American Girl®.

Recommended Fabrics: This pattern is designed for woven fabrics. The shirt should be made from lightweight woven fabric such as cotton lawn, batiste, cotton poplin, or light, soft polycotton blend fabrics. Medium weight woven fabrics such as quilter's cottons are perfect for the skirt. The vest can be made from the same fabric as the skirt, with a contrast lining. It can also be made from pre-quilted fabric. You can also quilt your own fabric to match the skirt if you prefer.

Supplies Needed:

Poet Shirt:

  • 1/3 yard/30.5cm of 44"/112cm wide lightweight woven fabric with a soft drape such as cotton lawn, batiste, cotton poplin, or soft polyester/cotton blends
  • 24" of narrow ⅛" (3mm) elastic
  • 3.5" (9cm) of hook and loop tape or 3 snaps for the back closure
  • 3 small 3/8" (9mm) buttons for decoration at the back of the shirt (optional)
  • 22" (56cm) of 2.25"/6cm wide flat (ungathered) eyelet trim or other flat lace for the neck ruffle if not using the shirt fabric
  • 20" of ⅛" (3mm) wide ribbon for the neckline bow


  • 1/3 yard/30.5cm of woven 44"/112cm wide fabric such as quilter's cotton.
  • 10" of 3/8" wide elastic.


  • 15" x 9" (38cm x 22.5cm) woven outer fabric AND
  • 15" x 9" (38cm x 22.5cm) woven lining fabric.


  • 15" x 9" (38cm x 22.5cm) pre-quilted fabric AND
  • 1 package of bias binding tape minimum width 3/4" (2cm)

Skill Level: Intermediate

What You Get: One 42 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides full color step-by-step illustrated instructions and full size pattern pieces. A PDF reader is required to view and print the files (example: Adobe Reader or Preview for MAC). The download link is received immediately after the transaction is complete. Print copies are NOT available

Download, Print, Sew!

*Creating a customer account will ensure that you have the ability to access your purchased (and free) files at any time.

For detailed information and answers to the most common questions, be sure to read the Terms of Use and FAQ's related to the doll clothes patterns sold at Pixie Faire.

Pixie Faire and the designers featured are not affiliated with American Girl®.

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Canada Canada

Shy Di

Love this pattern. So many options. As with all of Gennie's patterns the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Fit is perfect.

Pixie Faire Shy Di 1980s Style Ensemble 18 Doll Clothes Pattern Review
United States United States

GWD "Shy Di", blouse and skirt

As with all of Genniewren's patterns, the instructions are clear and the pattern pieces go together perfectly. It's a pleasure to sew when the pleats are clearly marked and the pleats fit exactly. I used a bleached muslin for the blouse and lots of starch. The skirt is a rayon challis, lovely drape. A tip I learned from a FB friend - Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar and 3/4 cup water in a spray bottle. Spray any creases you want to stay creased. I think it must be similar to what is in a Raja cloth. I sprayed the pin tucks on the blouse and the pleat and hidden pockets on the skirt. There is an elastic waist, so it fit all my dolls!

Pixie Faire Shy Di 1980s Style Ensemble 18 Doll Clothes Pattern ReviewPixie Faire Shy Di 1980s Style Ensemble 18 Doll Clothes Pattern Review
Lisa A.
United States United States

Lots of Options to Try

After making the full outfit as part of the testing process, I fell in love with the poet blouse and couldn’t wait to make it again in a cotton gauze - perfect blouse with a pair of jeans! The vest can also be made with a reversible quilted fabric, which is next on my list to try. Pattern fit very well, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I love the extra tips in the instructions that explain why you do something a certain way.

Pixie Faire Shy Di 1980s Style Ensemble 18 Doll Clothes Pattern Review
Jane W.
United States United States

Lovely and Versatile Pattern

I was fortunate to be able to test the fabulous poet shirt. Everything went together easily and fit perfectly. At the last minute, I decided to try adding a fold-over collar instead of the ruffle on my doll, Marisol, who has a larger high-chest and is longer waisted than dolls manufactured after 2008. I really wanted to show off the adorable front tucks and extended sleeve-shoulder seams, and it all worked out beautifully. You can see how I did it on the "Taking the Pattern a Little Further" page 32. This is a wonderful pattern with a lot of possibilities, and I can't recommend it enough!